AJC Presents a Conflicting Crime Narrative: Falling Rates or War Zone?

Last week I experienced intellectual whiplash at the hands of Patricia Murphy, the erstwhile Democrat Congressional Staffer, who has replaced Jim Galloway as the “Political Insider” at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Over on Peach Pundit the Podcast™, Pye, whose day job is to study criminal justice reform and be up to date on crime statistics both nationally and among individual states, has been pushing back anytime a claim is made that violent crime has been trending up. You can actually hear him bristle with mid-grade annoyance when someone claims that violent crime is on the rise. Pye, as the kids say these days, has the receipts, and whenever we start talking about it he spouts numbers so prolifically that it would make a nerd get bored.

But you know who agrees with Pye? The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

When Donald Trump was booked and photographed, he complained on social media about having to come to a city that the Fulton District Attorney has allowed to become a, “record setting murder and violent crime war zone.”

The fact checkers over at the AJC took notice and immediately went to work showing how the data didn’t back up Trump’s claims, publishing an article by Stephanie Lamm titled, “Trump calls Atlanta a ‘violent crime war zone.’ We checked the numbers”

From Lamm’s piece:

“In fact, violent crime is down more than 20% compared to this time last year, according to Atlanta Police Department data. Motor vehicle theft and theft from vehicles were the only areas of increase, records show. Data analyzed by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution show claims by Trump and his surrogates regarding crime in Atlanta are misleading at best.

The 2022 annual report from the City of Atlanta Police Department shows violent crime – homicides, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults – decreased 9% from 2021 to 2022. Property crime, including shoplifting, and motor vehicle theft, increased just 1%.

And for the first time in four years, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last month, homicides were down across Atlanta as city leaders bolster youth outreach programs in an effort to curb deadly violence.”

AJC August 22nd, 2023

Emphasis mine.

Trump makes claim, data doesn’t support it, AJC fact checkers publish piece setting record straight. Got it. I’m good. Pye is good. We all know now that violent crime is experiencing a dip and that’s what the data show. Good on the AJC for using legitimate statistical analysis to get the story right.

Only, you know who agrees with Trump and disagrees with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution?

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

A mere 15 days after Lamm’s smackdown on the false narrative that Atlanta is a war zone, we see these words published by the AJC authored by Patricia Murphy with the headline, “OPINION: Bullets are flying across Georgia and mayors are asking for help.

“In Atlanta, a 25-year-old valet driver was shot to death in Buckhead trying to stop a car break-in, while four separate shootings killed two others inside the city limits Saturday night. Six more people were shot in Northwest Atlanta Sunday, while a young woman was killed in an apparent road rage shooting the next day.

The Labor Day weekend shootings didn’t stop at the Atlanta city limits. A 20-year-old man was fatally shot in Statesboro, followed by the shooting death of a young mother in Cuthbert. A 70-year-old woman was shot near a Burlington Coat Factory in Columbus, while four people were gunned down in Dublin Monday morning. A 7-year-old boy was shot and killed at a Lithonia gas station with his father’s gun Monday evening. The list goes on.”

AJC September 6th 2023

OH MY GAWD! BLOOD IS FLOWING IN THE STREETS! Quick! Somebody blame the guns!

What prompted Murphy to write her piece was a letter fewer than 50 mayors wrote to the General Assembly requesting additional mental health funding among other things, including a series of gun control measures. Crime statistics be damned this time! It’s time to bolster cries for gun control by creating a narrative to back the claims of a handful of elected officials. They get a pass from being fact checked because their name isn’t Trump.

And it was only a handful. Something that stood out to me, besides the apparent lack of knowledge of crime statistics, was Murphy’s word choice in her second paragraph. She wrote, “It wasn’t a majority of mayors, but they represented every kind of community in the state…” Again, emphasis mine.

There are 535 municipalities in Georgia. It wasn’t even 10% of the mayors.

Cherry picking a handful of examples, while each of them is tragic and criminal, when your own newspaper has already debunked the narrative that, “bullets are flying,” is next level.

Here at Peach Pundit we disagree with each other all the time. Listen to one podcast, or read different takes on Cop City, and you will know that we are not consistent amongst different contributors. We also each have our own biases, something we do not hide from you, Dear Reader. So I guess I could sorta chalk this up to Murphy being allowed to explore her own biases in an opinion piece at the AJC. But the problem with that is that when Trump offered the same type of analysis Murphy did, they fact checked him. I won’t hold my breath that they will do the same for Murphy.

Now here is a thing, mental health has indeed become a crisis in our state, with local sheriff’s having to use their county jails as a replacement for mental health hospital facilities. The model of community based care is failing, for a whole host of reasons, not just in our state but across the country. I could espouse on this topic long enough to also make a nerd get bored. I just wanted to point out there are some things in the mayors’ letter that are, in fact, worth exploring, even if some of their proposals are non-starters. A blog post for another time.

4 Replies to “AJC Presents a Conflicting Crime Narrative: Falling Rates or War Zone?”

  1. “and if you don’t believe the earth is flat, I might publish it.” That kinda implies that if “one DOES believe the Earth is flat, you WILL publish it.” /Snarrrk

    Also, is that really Kandiss, or a spoof of Kandiss?

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